Gibson Double 12 Electric Guitar, ca. 1960

Value (2009) | $25,000 Retail$35,000 Retail

GUEST:
This was my mother's guitar. It was manufactured sometime between 1959 and 1962. Basically it was a pre-production model of the doublenecks that were produced in the '70s. And my whole family are musical, and it was played daily by her and my brother.

APPRAISER:
Okay, and tell me about your mother and her bands.

GUEST:
Well, my mother was Dixie Lee of the Rhythm Ramblers in the 1940s and '50s, and this is my father and my mother and my oldest brother. And they were affiliated with a lot of early bluegrass and country western stars in the Virginia area.

APPRAISER:
Did you ever see her play both necks?

GUEST:
Not her at the same time, but she would play the guitar sitting down and my brother, as he got older, would lean over her shoulder and they would play.

APPRAISER:
This middle toggle switch will allow both necks to be live at the same time.

GUEST:
So my brother and my mother would play the guitar at the same time.

APPRAISER:
Incredible.

GUEST:
My mother had a Kay guitar that was her favorite, that she'd owned for many years. And after a show one night, it's my understanding that the guitar did not get loaded into the car correctly and they actually backed over it and destroyed her Kay guitar.

APPRAISER:
Oh, no.

GUEST:
And so my father special-ordered this guitar as a replacement to her favorite guitar.

APPRAISER:
What possessed him to order a double neck?

GUEST:
Probably guilt for running over her guitar.

APPRAISER:
And this was probably the most expensive guitar that Gibson made.

GUEST:
I would have thought.

APPRAISER:
Well, you already know it's a very rare model. It's a Gibson Model Double 12, six- and 12-string neck guitar, made by the Gibson Guitar Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And in fact you have a catalog here. And in the catalog it shows the guitar a little differently. It shows it without this center pick guard right here. At the time, the guitar cost $600 and the case cost $90. But, like you said, they made very few of them, and this is... you mentioned a pre-production model. Why did you say that?

GUEST:
Well, this was actually sort of a prototype that Gibson was doing, and I don't think any of the 46 guitars that were made were exactly the same, but each guitar could be customized for the person. Also, according to the catalog, they made three different color finishes. They made black, sunburst and white. I've only ever seen them in white before.

APPRAISER:
I see it has a couple of replacements.

GUEST:
It has... two of the knobs are replaced.

APPRAISER:
I see that switch is replaced.

GUEST:
Correct. I see that the tuners are replaced.

APPRAISER:
And here's the original tuners here. The knobs deteriorate over the years.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
The case... that's an amazing thing. They're very rare. It's got the original brown case with the pink lining. And I think if you didn't have the case, it would be awfully hard to get another one. You had somebody appraise it at one time.

GUEST:
I had it appraised on the Internet just from a picture, just for insurance purposes.

APPRAISER:
When was that?

GUEST:
1999.

APPRAISER:
And how much did they say it was worth?

GUEST:
They appraised it at $12,000.

APPRAISER:
Well, electric guitar values have fluctuated quite a lot. Even four years ago, most electric guitars had doubled in value from where they'd been a couple of years prior to that. Some of them had tripled. And all of a sudden, before the economic crisis hit, they just took a dive.

GUEST:
Sure.

APPRAISER:
This kind of guitar is outside of the realm of common collector electric guitars.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
It's so scarce that I think if you were a collector that didn't have one, you might pay retail somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000 for it.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
The four patent-applied-for humbucking pickups on their own are worth thousands of dollars each.

GUEST:
Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Vintage Instruments, Inc.
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2009)
$25,000 Retail$35,000 Retail
Event
Raleigh, NC (June 27, 2009)
Period
20th Century

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